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April 14, 2005

Shields named Titusville president

Pitt alumnus William A. Shields, acting president of the University of Maine at Presque Isle (UMPI), has been named president of the Titusville campus, effective Aug. 1.

He succeeds Michael A. Worman, UPT president for 17 years, who is retiring.

Shields is no stranger to Pitt’s regional campuses. He served as interim president of the Bradford campus from 2002 to 2003, where he oversaw a major expansion of the facilities and headed a $16 million capital campaign.

He also served as president of Rockford College in Rockford, Ill., from 1992 to 2002, and as president of the College of Great Falls in Mont., from 1977 to 1992.

Shields, 62, holds two Pitt degrees, an M.A. (1967) and a Ph.D. (1972) both in sociology. His undergraduate degree, also in sociology, was earned at Carroll College.

“The Titusville campus owes everything to the foundation of Mike Worman’s leadership,” Shields told the University Times in a phone interview last week. “And I don’t say that gratuitously. The campus is in great shape, and it’s a wonderful opportunity to come in under those conditions. I’m not saying there’s no room for growth or adapting to changing programmatic and facilities needs, but I will say the foundation of the institution is solid. I look forward to returning to Pennsylvania and to the challenges of a full-time presidency.”

Shields acknowledged that all his administrative experience has been at four-year institutions, most of them private schools. “But with the Bradford experience, and here at UMPI, I now have more of a balance, private and public. Also, I grew up in rural Montana, and I feel comfortable going to the small community setting of Titusville,” he said.

Shields’ three priorities are improving programmatic quality, strengthening student recruitment efforts and reinforcing the campus’s mission, which is to provide a two-year, associate-degree education for students who wish to go on to a four-year program, either at Pitt or elsewhere.

Regarding programmatic strength, Shields said he would pursue establishing additional cooperative programs with Pitt-Bradford and other institutions in the region.

“I also think with the establishment and approval of our new nursing program we would consider expanding into the allied health area with other programs. I see a need in the western Pennsylvania region for that,” he said.

Plans for a new campus residence hall, already underway, also will draw his attention as a fundraiser, he said, although no campus-wide capital campaign is on the short-term agenda.

His other plans include a series of meetings with the Titusville faculty and staff and continued informal contact with them as the campus community gets to know him. He also will use the campus’s August orientation convocation as a forum to spell out his ideas for the regional, he said.

“While serving as an interim president at the University of Pittsburgh at Bradford in 2002, I became familiar with the other [Pitt] campuses and administration,” Shields said.

“I really enjoyed my contact with the provost and with the Council of Deans and the other regional presidents. It’s a big part of the attraction [of the Titusville position]. That, and working with the dedicated, loyal and highly competent faculty and staff at Titusville, who really impressed me.”

In announcing Shields’ appointment, Provost James V. Maher said, “I have great confidence that Dr. Shields will provide thoughtful, academic leadership to the University of Pittsburgh at Titusville, bringing to bear his experience, wisdom and integrity in developing the Titusville campus’s strengths and priorities.”

Chancellor Mark A. Nordenberg added, “I share the provost’s confidence that Bill Shields will build effectively on the foundation now in place and that we will see further progress at Pitt-Titusville in the years ahead.”

Prior to his administrative career, Shields was on the sociology faculty at the College of Great Falls and Idaho State University. His publications range from a sociological perspective on drug abuse to research on the changing role of the academic vice president.

He received the Outstanding Community Service Award while president of the College of Great Falls. At Rockford, he received the 2002 Distinguished Service Award and served as a member of the board of directors of the Rockford Health Council, chair of the Greater Rockford Council of 100 and vice chair of the Federation of Illinois Independent Colleges and Universities.

Currently, he serves as senior consultant to the mission and identity project of the Association of Governing Boards of Universities and Colleges.

Shields came to Maine’s Presque Isle campus in August 2004 to fill a one-year appointment following the resignation of the president.

At UMPI, he helped coordinate the establishment of a consortial structure among the UM campuses at Presque Isle, Fort Kent and Machais as part of the University of Maine System strategic plan. He also oversaw the construction of a $9 million health and recreation facility.

—Peter Hart

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